Overview

Brief Summary

Schistosoma haematobium is one of the three main Schistosoma trematode flatworms that infect humans and cause schistosomiasis (=bilharziasis), the other two being S. japonicum and S. mansoni (in some regions, S. mekongi and S. intercalatum also infect humans and cause schistosomiasis). Other schistosome species, which parasitize birds and non-human mammals, can cause cercarial dermatitis in humans.

The life cycle of S. haematobium and related schistosomes is complex. Eggs are eliminated from a human host with feces or urine. Under optimal conditions, the eggs hatch and release miracidia, which swim and penetrate specific snail intermediate hosts. The life stages within the snail include two generations of sporocysts and the production of cercariae. Upon release from the snail, the infective cercariae swim, penetrate the skin of the human host, and shed their forked tail, becoming schistosomulae (human contact with water is thus necessary for infection by schistosomes). The schistosomulae migrate through several tissues and stages to their residence in the veins. Adult worms in humans reside in the mesenteric venules in various locations, which at times seem to be specific for each species. For example, S. japonicum is more frequently found in the superior mesenteric veins draining the small intestine and S. mansoni occurs more often in the superior mesenteric veins draining the large intestine. However, both species can occupy either location, and they are capable of moving between sites, so it cannot be stated unequivocally that either is found only in one location or another. Schistosoma haematobium most often occurs in the venous plexus of bladder, but can also be found in the rectal venules. The females (7 to 20 mm in length, slightly larger than males) deposit eggs in the small venules of the portal and perivesical systems. The eggs are moved progressively toward the lumen of the intestine (S. mansoni and S. japonicum) and of the bladder and ureters (S. haematobium), and are eliminated with feces or urine, respectively.

Pathology of S. haematobium schistosomiasis includes: hematuria, scarring, calcification, squamous cell carcinoma, and occasional embolic egg granulomas in brain and spinal cord.

Schistosoma haematobium occurs in Africa and the Middle East.

(Source: Centers for Disease Control Parasites and Health Website)

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Distribution

Schistosoma haematobium can be found in Africa and the Middle East and southern Europe. Schistosoma haematobium can be found in areas where their intermediate hosts such as Bulinus spp. and Physopsis spp. reside.

Biogeographic Regions: palearctic ; ethiopian

  • Roberts, L., J. Janovy. 2000. Foundations of Parasitology, Sixth Edition. Boston: McGraw Hill Companies Inc..
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Physical Description

Morphology

Adult males are around 10 mm and females are 15 mm in length. Both sexes of S. haematobium have a strong oral sucker and a smaller posterior ventral sucker. Males have a gynecophoral canal where females are usually located. Research shows the gynecophoral canal transfers nutrients and hormones from the male to the female and vise versa. Males have five to nine testes and no cirrus pouch, cirrus or prostate cells. The genital pore is located directly behind the ventral sucker. Females have only one ovary near the center of the body and a uterus that can contain 20-100 eggs.

Other Physical Features: ectothermic ; heterothermic ; bilateral symmetry

  • Agnew, A., S. Lucas, M. Doenhoff. 1988. The host-parasite relationship of Schistosoma haematobium in CBA mice. London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, 3: 403-424.
  • Basch, P. 1991. Schistosomes. New York: Oxford University Press.
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Ecology

Habitat

Schistosoma haematobium reside in tropical climates and near rivers near the coast. Studies show Schistosoma haematobium prefer to inhabit forest zone areas towards the south. Savanna zones towards the north do not include heavy populations of S. haematobium, although they inhabit areas in North Africa and the Middle East. Evidence suggests that snail infection rates of S. haematobium miracidia increase from July to November and at normal water levels.

Terrestrial Biomes: savanna or grassland ; forest ; rainforest ; scrub forest

Aquatic Biomes: rivers and streams

  • N'Goran, E., P. Bremond, E. Sellin, B. Sellin, A. Theron. 1997. Intraspecific diversity of Schistosoma haematobium in west Africa: chronobiology of cercarial emergence. Acta Trop, 66: 35-44.
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Trophic Strategy

Adult Schistosoma haematobium feeds on blood located in the veins around the urinary bladder of their mammalian host.

Animal Foods: blood; body fluids

Primary Diet: carnivore (Eats body fluids)

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Associations

The life cycle of this trematode includes infecting snails, particularly in the genus Bulinus and humans.

Ecosystem Impact: parasite

Species Used as Host:

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These animals are probably not preyed on directly but are ingested. Egg and larval mortality are high since the parasites often do not reach appropriate hosts.

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Life History and Behavior

Behavior

Bristles and small spines probably act as tactile receptors, and these animals also may have reduced chemoreceptors.

Communication Channels: tactile ; chemical

Perception Channels: tactile ; chemical

  • Brusca, R., G. Bruca. 2003. Invertebrates. Sunderland, Massachusetts: Sinauer Associates, Inc..
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Life Cycle

Schistosoma haematobium has a very complex life cycle that is different from most other digenean life cycles. Schistosoma haematobium is distinct from many trematodes in that the sexes are separate in this species. Both male and females must remain together for long periods of time in order for the males to fertilize the females. This process can be difficult while the worms are inside the host's body since the males have to find the females in order to copulate.

According to experimental tests Schistosoma haematobium eggs increase their hatching time upon the dilution of urine in water. Eggs found to hatch 5 minutes after dilution of the urine continue to do so after 10-15 min. Hatching time increases under light and with vibration or disturbance of the eggs. Eggs then hatch into miracidia(larval stage) that have ciliated epithelia and swim in water. After finding the snail intermediate host, (Bulinus spp.) miracidia penetrate the snail and shed their epithelia. Miracidia without epithelial tissue are called sporocysts. Next, the sporocysts produced daughter sporocysts. The sporocyst grows by absorbing the host tissue, then the germinal cells divide and produce embryos that grow into daughter sporocysts. According to most digenean life cycles, most species will now produce rediae. Although most digenean sporocysts asexually produce a second immature from termed a redia Schistosoma haematobium neglects this stage and no rediae are formed.

Next, the sporocyst asexually produces the next immature form termed cercariae with tails that leave the snail host in order to find a definitive host. The cercariae burrow into the skin and lose their tails causing a condition called "Swimmer's Itch." Studies show that at temperatures under 10°C and over 40°C, cercariae do not develop properly and demonstrate a significant increase in their mortality. Preferable conditions for penetration of the skin would be between these extremes. Inside the host, the cercariae shed their tails and migrate to the liver via the host's circulatory system. The cercariae will feed on blood in the vessels until they reach their adult form. From the liver S. haematobium travels to the bladder (venus plexus) where they begin to produce eggs. Egg formation occurs about 9.5 weeks after infestation.

  • Ghandour, A. 1976. A study of the relationship between temperature and the infectivity of Schistosoma mansoni and Schistosoma haematobium cercariae. Journal of Helminthology, 50: 193-6.
  • Matsunaga, K., H. Nojima, D. Koech. 1987. Dependence of hatching of Schistosoma haematobium miracidia on physical and biological factors.. Parasitology Research, 74: 55-60.
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Reproduction

Schistosoma haematobium has a very complex life cycle that is different from most other digenean life cycles. Schistosoma haematobium is distinct from many trematodes in that the sexes are separate in this species. Both male and females must remain together for long periods of time in order for the males to fertilize the females. This process can be difficult while the worms are inside the host's body since the males have to find the females in order to copulate. The sporocyst asexually produces the next immature form termed cercariae. From the liver of the definitive host, S. haematobium travels to the bladder (venus plexus) where they begin to produce eggs. Egg formation occurs about 9.5 weeks after infestation.

Key Reproductive Features: simultaneous hermaphrodite; sexual ; asexual

Parental Investment: no parental involvement; pre-fertilization (Provisioning)

  • Agnew, A., S. Lucas, M. Doenhoff. 1988. The host-parasite relationship of Schistosoma haematobium in CBA mice. London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, 3: 403-424.
  • Ghandour, A. 1976. A study of the relationship between temperature and the infectivity of Schistosoma mansoni and Schistosoma haematobium cercariae. Journal of Helminthology, 50: 193-6.
  • Matsunaga, K., H. Nojima, D. Koech. 1987. Dependence of hatching of Schistosoma haematobium miracidia on physical and biological factors.. Parasitology Research, 74: 55-60.
  • Roberts, L., J. Janovy. 2000. Foundations of Parasitology, Sixth Edition. Boston: McGraw Hill Companies Inc..
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Schistosoma haematobium

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


There are 8 barcode sequences available from BOLD and GenBank.

Below is a sequence of the barcode region Cytochrome oxidase subunit 1 (COI or COX1) from a member of the species.

See the BOLD taxonomy browser for more complete information about this specimen and other sequences.

GGGGGTTTTATTGGTTTAGGTTTG---AGGCTTTTAATTCGATTAAATTTATGTGATCCATATTATAATTTGGTTTCA---TTAGATGTTTATAAATTTTTGATTACTAACCATGGTATAGCTATGATTTTTTTTTTTTTAATGCCTATATTGATAGGTGGATTTGGTAAATATTTTCTTCCG---TTTTTTTTATATATAGATGATTTGTTGTTACCTCGATTGAATTCTTTTAGTTTATGATTAATGATTCCTTCATTTTTTTATATGGAGTTGAGTTTATACTATGGTTGT------GGTGTAGGATGAACATTGTATCCTCCATTATCC---ATATCTGAGAATTCAGGTTTAGGTGTAGAT---TATTTAATGTTTTCTTTACATTTAGCGGGTGTATCTAGACTAGTTGGTTCTATTAATTTTATTTCTACGATTATTAGTCGTGTCGATTTTAAG---------------ACTTCTATAATAATATGGTCGTATTTGTTTACTTCTATTTTATTATTGCTTTCATTACCAGTTTTAGCAGCT---GGTATTACTATGCTATTATTTGATCGTAAATTTGGTACTGCTTTTTTTGAGCCTATGGGTGGTGGTGATCCATTATTATTTCAGCACTTATTTTGATTTTTTGGTCATCCAGAGGTGTATGTTTTAATTTTACCTGGATTTGGAATAGTTAGTCATATATGTATGAGGATAAGT---AATAATGATTCATCGTTTGGGTATTATGGATTGATTTGTGCTATGGCTTCGATAGTTTGCTTAGGAAGTGTAGTTTGAGCCCATCATATGTTTATGGTTGGTTTAGATTATTTGACTGCTATATTTTTTAGTTCAGTGACTATGATTATAGGGATTCCTACAGGTATAAAGGTTTTTTCTTGGTTATATATGCTT
-- end --

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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Schistosoma haematobium

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 8
Specimens with Barcodes: 8
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

Schistosoma haematobium is not an ecologically endangered species. It is found abundantly throughout its normal habitats.

US Federal List: no special status

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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Schistosoma haematobium is the cause of schistosomiasis also known as Bilharzia. Hosts of the parasite are humans. Schistosomiasis affects 200 million people worldwide and is considered one the most serious pathogenic infections today.

Schistosoma haematobium is pathogenic to humans and causes blood in the and urine and sometimes in the stool. Persons affected by S. haematobium may also develop cough, fever, skin inflammation, and tenderness of the liver because the spined eggs attach to vital organs and cause tissue degeneration. Later stages of the disease may be characterized by the swelling and damaging of the bladder, liver, and other organs. The eggs of Schistosoma haematobium can clog the bladder neck and cause infection. Many researchers have also observed damage on other body structures. Chronic schistosomiasis raises the incidence of bladder cancer in many Middle Eastern countries.

Drugs are available to cure Schistomiasis although the treatment process is long and unpleasant. Praziquantel is the leading drug in America In other nations, including Africa, Trichlorfon is administered. Unfortunately once the bladder wall is infested with eggs and feeding Schistosomes, prognosis is poor and the chances of surviving are slim.

Negative Impacts: injures humans (causes disease in humans )

  • Liese, B. 1986. The Organization of Schistosomiasis Control Programmes. Parasitology Today, 2: 339-340.
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